Matthew Chapter Eight part 6, A study of Matthew 8:18 featuring our Common Man's Commentary

Matthew 8:18

"When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake." NIV translation

At first, this verse is a little puzzling as we see that people were still coming to have Him heal their bodies but Jesus decided to leave the town of Capernaum. Why did Jesus not stay there until there were no more people coming? For the answer, we must remember that Jesus' purpose was to bring salvation to the Jewish people and that physical healing was a tool to demonstrate His power and authority.

That fact had been established by the leper, Peter's mother-in-law, and the crowds that had come the previous day. He could have stayed there, built up quite a "healing ministry", and even become famous but that was not in keeping with His purpose. Jesus, Himself, said that His purpose was to do His Father's will.

As Christians, we often have the same opportunity/choice. We can continue to do good things and yet be out of God's will for our lives or we can move on to the next season in our lives/ministry.

As with any choice, there are rewards and consequences. For Jesus, staying in Capernaum would have made a name for Himself and He would have gotten a good reputation. But, His purpose was to suffer humiliation and ultimate rejection for our benefit. If He had not done so, we would still be facing the penalty for our sin. Although Capernaum would be like Jesus' ministry headquarters for His time on this earth, He had to go out to be in the will of His Father.

For us, in our personal ministry, we might also get a good name and reputation by doing the same thing for fifty years. At our funeral, there may be lines of grateful Christians that we have helped but who knows how many people we did not minister to because we did not move on (cross the lake). Either way, we will have our rewards in heaven but, we might miss out on a much bigger reward because we stayed where we were comfortable. God gives us the freedom to select from the categories of "good", "better", and "best" for our lives and we can do so without condemnation.